Iron detoxification of human blood plasma was studied with resins containing desferrioxamine B (DFO) or 3-hydroxy-2-methyl-4(1H)-pyridinone (HMP) as iron(III)-chelating groups. The behaviour of four resins was investigated: DFO-Sepharose, HMP-Sepharose and crosslinked copolymers of 1-(ß-acrylamidoethyl)-3-hydroxy-2-methyl-4(1H)-pyridinone (AHMP) with 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA) and of AHMP with N,N-dimethylacrylamide (DMAA). The efficiency of iron detoxification of plasma of the resins was mainly dependent on the affinity of the ligands and the hydrophilicity of the resins. The results of a stability study in phosphate-buffered saline at a physiological pH indicated that AHMP-DMAA was the most stable resin, whereas the Sepharose gels had a relatively lower stability. Experiments with the AHMP-DMAA resin showed that the resin was able to remove iron from plasma with different iron contents, and from plasma poisoned with FeCl3, iron(III) citrate or transferrin. A rapid removal from free serum iron was observed, whereas iron from transferrin was removed slowly afterwards. Only the overload iron was removed since in all cases the normal serum iron level of ca. 1 ppm was obtained.